- Published: 04 May 2015
CHICAGO – Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago) will hold a press conference today to discuss legislation that has passed the Senate and seeks to address the growing noise from O’Hare International Airport since 2013. Collaborating with Mulroe is Congressman Mike Quigley, Representative John D’Amico as well as many other state lawmakers, Chicago aldermen, suburban mayors, Cook County commissioners and the FAiR Coalition.
“The noise levels are unbearable for people and we are working hard to address those concerns,” Mulroe said. “This legislation was drafted with the intention of seeking a compromise with the airport and the residents in communities bordering the airport. I want there to be a little less talk and a little more action.”
Passed on April 16 from the Senate by a staggering majority, Senate Bills 636 and 637 act as companion pieces to address the noise concerns. SB636 would raise the number of active runways O’Hare could have from eight to 10, while SB637 stipulates that the existing runways must all remain active and at full capacity.
Prior to 2013, reliance on the existing runways diverted air traffic not only east-west but also on a diagonal pattern northeast-northwest. Since that time, the parallel east-west runways have moved to 97 percent capacity, while the diagonal runway’s traffic has dwindled to 3 percent.
“We need a fairer distribution of arrivals and departures among O’Hare runways to ease the flood of aircraft noise inundating our neighborhoods,” Rep. Quigley said. “I appreciate Senator Mulroe’s leadership and partnership as we continue to pursue every avenue that reduces noise without compromising safety.”
Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge), while not present at the press conference, released the following written statement: “While I agree that a state-of-the-art and efficient O’Hare Airport is a key component to our area’s economy and transportation system, I firmly support expansion of noise and air pollution monitoring and greater public involvement in decision-making.”
In addition to the legislators, a family from Schiller Park, which borders O’Hare on the village’s northwest side, will testify to their experience with the noise levels prior to 2013 and since the opening of the most recent parallel runway.